Nursing Home Requirements During COVID-19

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, many nursing homes in U.S. were experiencing crises of their own caused by staffing as well as other issues.  Recently, nursing home facilities in and around Charlottesville, Virginia, including Envoy @ The Village, The Colonnades, and Sunrise Senior Living facilities.

It was obvious from the beginning of this crisis that the nation’s elderly population was going to be the most at-risk from COVID-19.  As of the date of this article, the coronavirus has killed more than 10,000 residents and staff members in more than 23 states.  The New York Times is reporting that making those deaths more likely nationwide is weaknesses in patient care and oversight.

Nursing Home Problems Have Been Around For A While

According to a 2014 report from the federal Office of the Inspector General, about 1/3 of people who have Medicare in the nursing home system suffer some kind of injury or harm within 2 weeks of entering the home.  The residents discussed in the report mostly represented short-term patients who were able to speak up for themselves.  If these patients are suffering harm, there is a much greater concern for those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

COVID-19 Has Exacerbated The Problems

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, many nursing homes have seen a general erosion of care as the virus places overwhelming demands on an already thinly stretched system.

One of the major problems which has caused the intense problems in nursing homes with the outbreak of COVID-19 is that there are tough standards of care at homes certified under Medicaid or Medicare.  But, before the pandemic, government enforcement of those standards of care was lax.

Need For Better Enforcement

Reports suggest that if that enforcement had been better, the coronavirus may not have proved so devastating.  These reports also suggest that poor care persists in nursing homes because regulators allow the nursing home industry to treat standards of care as goals rather than actual requirements.  Over the years, state enforcement agencies have allowed nursing homes to operate even when they have been cited and fined for violations.  Additionally, many federal and academic studies have shown that government inspectors do a poor job of finding problems in nursing homes and, when they find the problems, they frequently don’t give penalties for them.

Frequently, nursing homes have lobbyists working for them, who argue that the nursing homes can’t afford to improve conditions because the homes make such little money.

What Can You Do?

So, what can you do if you have a loved one in a nursing home during the pandemic?  First, check out our articles “Coronavirus and Nursing Homes” and “Nursing Homes Struggle To Control Coronavirus”.

Secondly, you can and should contact your Virginia and West Virginia state legislators and demand that the states send teams of health department officials to nursing homes to assess the safety of the residents and staffs.  Where necessary, those teams should take over management and provide medical treatment and supplies.  You can also demand that the legislature require that each nursing care facility have an infection preventionist in the building at least part-time.  Good facilities are providing this staffing now.  Here are links to your state legislators:

Virginia legislators

West Virginia Legislators 


What Makes Ritchie Law Firm Different?

Many Virginia lawyers say they handle nursing home cases.  But, before you hire any lawyer to handle a nursing home claim, you should ask if he or she has handled these claims before.  If that attorney can’t answer yes, he or she is probably not the right lawyer for you.

That’s what makes us different.  At the Ritchie Law Firm, we have a team of lawyers who have been trained to handle the complexities of nursing home cases.  We have a proven track record of successfully handling nursing home cases

If you have a loved one who has been hurt by the negligence of a nursing home, our team will review your case for FREE.  Then, with no obligation and NO STRINGS ATTACHED, we’ll tell you our game plan for winning your case.

If you want your nursing home case handled by a team of lawyers trained to handle this difficult area of the law that few lawyers know the first thing about, your search is over.  Click here to give us some details about your case.

Call Us Today To Talk With Our Nursing Home Team



Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV


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